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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
So, the blackout is over. I took the wraps off tonight and the regular light cycle will kick in tomorrow morning. The whole tank looks kind of wierd. Interestingly, the plants continued to grow a little in the darkness. The new growth is almost white.

At first, I thought the blackout had accomplished nothing, since it looked about like it did before. After messing around a little in the tank though it became apparent that the algae was now dead, leaving mucous stuff just hanging around where it had been growing. I turned the pumps off, gave everything a good shake and did a big superficial vacuum once the gunk had settled out.

Things look pretty good now - not perfect, but if the tank stays happy - close enough. A few of the plants had completely melted away into nothing but I had expected that. They were the ones that were already on their way out before starting. A huge trim in the 46g tank resulted in some new stemmies too. Hopefully the added plant mass will help.

I'll post some before / after photos in a few days.
 

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I find this interesting about the brown(diatom) algae.

I've tried black outs in the past (10 gallon) with little to no effect. however,

I recently restarted the 10 gal as a growout for angel fry.
I had no light just residual light cast by other tanks, overhear bulbs..etc.
recently I added a light and wham..brown algae.

I'm thinking there is something to this blackout thing.
 

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it became apparent that the algae was now dead
yeah!!!!

Interestingly, the plants continued to grow a little in the darkness. The new growth is almost white.
Awesome! I am so glad to hear that. You have gone through so much frustration with this, I am very glad to hear that things are starting to work out for you.

I'm thinking there is something to this blackout thing.
guaiac_boy, you actually understand the stuff that goes on with black outs and such (I only know it works); can you or Hoppy explain AGAIN - Why it works and how it works?

I remember reading about bacteria and a new tank having to cycle and establish itself, and until the tank is left alone to do just that - it could take a VERY LONG TIME to settle down.

Having actually gone through this on your dream tank (and we are enjoying it vicariously through you), how would you explain it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Well, its now a few days later. The soft, stringy, slime stuff is coming back, but at least its progression is slow enough to keep up with now. It comes off the plants easily with just a gentle swish. A few of the plants are starting to perk up a little bit. I posted some photos on the journal here.

I also decided to go with an RO unit. I chose the Kent Marine Hi-S model which supposedly does a good job with silica removal. If the problem is arising from either this or something else in the water, then it should help. I'll start off with a 50/50 mix of tap & RO. This should get my KH down in the 5 or 6 range, which is probably better for some of the plants anyway.

Jimbo, regarding your question about why a blackout works...... I guess I'm no expert on this, but I think it's nothing more complicated than starving the algae. One thing they absolutely need to survive is light. They don't have high levels of carbohydrate stores like higher plants. After 48 or 72 hours, their cellular metabolism essentially stops. Algae are very simple opportunistic organisms. They are very effecient at extracting nutrients from the water, but in the absense of light, they die pretty quickly.
 

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You've got every other gadget on that tank already so why not install a 15 watt UV sterilizer? I've used one on my 75 gallon tank for a while and when I take it off I notice a marked increase in algae in the tank. My dosing is fine, I think it's just something in my water as you supected with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
You've got every other gadget on that tank already so why not install a 15 watt UV sterilizer?
Actually, I already have one. Gnaster recommended a 15W Aqua Ultraviolet model with a wiper and it's been running 24/7 since startup. It's on my closed-loop, so flow might be a little higher than optimal, but it's still within the recommended range per the manufacturer.

Things would have probaly been worse without it, but who knows. I think that GW would have been much easier to deal with than all this other stuff.

If you read between the lines, there's a pretty important lesson here for everyone. I have a 46g tank that was first set up on a very tight budget - DIY spiral compact flourescents, soilmaster select, DIY CO2 (at first - changed over to pressurized now). Today, it's still a much easier tank to deal with. For the most part it now stays algae-free and plants grow like crazy. When I go to the trouble to actually aquascape it, it looks fabulous.

Compare that with this current project. I've spent more than I'd like to admit (and much more than I'd like my wife to know about :)) and it's been a headache ever since startup. I'm sure it will eventually get to a nice place (because I won't give up until it does), but cheap and simple is sometimes just as good as fancy and expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
If you ask reef people, bigger would be better...... but then, their goals are different. They are trying to kill parasites and bacteria. Algae is much easier to fry, and even with 15W you end up getting most of the free-swimming bugs anyway.
 

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If you read between the lines, there's a pretty important lesson here for everyone. I have a 46g tank that was first set up on a very tight budget - DIY spiral compact flourescents, soilmaster select, DIY CO2 (at first - changed over to pressurized now). Today, it's still a much easier tank to deal with. For the most part it now stays algae-free and plants grow like crazy. When I go to the trouble to actually aquascape it, it looks fabulous.
The "lesson" I learned from "reading between the lines" is more light is not always better. You have much more wiggle room when it comes to ferts and CO2 when you use lower light levels ;)
 

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Recently, I re did a 10 gallon planted tank, new substrate and the works, added lots of live plants, plenty of ferts, and within two weeks the whole tank was covered in brown algae. I keep plenty of nerite snails, so I added 5 and within a few days, no brown algae. Never has returned.
ombcat
 

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The "lesson" I learned from "reading between the lines" is more light is not always better. You have much more wiggle room when it comes to ferts and CO2 when you use lower light levels ;)
I feel pretty strongly about this subject so I am posting a reply..

I found when I went from 2.25 wpg up to 4.5 wpg on my 29 gallon that I had LESS algae problems.

I believe in the theory that says algae growth is inversely proportional to the rate and health of plant growth.

I also am not sure I agree with the idea that you have more wiggle room.. you just have more time before things get really fouled up..

On the other hand MatPat you have been doing this longer than me.. and I defer/bow to your experience..
 

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Brown Algae Solution.

Well, my 2 cents...I tried less water changes. Went from 2-3 a week to 1 a week. No luck. Tried adding ottos...They attacked my Discus, they went byebye. tried the snail thing...No luck. Lazy. Ok, so I went into a LFS last week, saw small/young (common?) plecos, got one. saw the last two living fallowella cats out of many in a tank, also small/young got the two, and a bunch of the tiny snails (got 10 or so for free) that hitchhike a ride in on the incoming plants from the wholesalers. After a week and daily checking of the tank, My algae problem has been 70% eradicated. This was after all the trying of blackouts, the leser water changes, lesser feedings, etc. I guess it goes to show that there are many different ways to do it, but trial and error is the only solution. Thanks!
 

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I still love the photos of your tank and your fish.

Thank you for the explanation of blackouts. Simple and to the point. I love that. I am glad that it is working for you.

I understand your theory about the water chemistry. What did you think about the 'cycling'? Or the floating plants?

There are so many approaches and theories. It just sounds like you are doing SO MUCH work.

If you are flat broke by this point, you can still get Diana Walstad's book at the library. The price on the link at the top - really is a good deal. And you are young and smart enough to absorb and understand it all on the first reading (?). Me - I only had to read it and re-read it until it started to sink in.

I am still testing her theories one at a time. I would love to hear what you think or feel about her theories and or approaches. Some of it may make you chuckle.

Again, I love your latest photos of tanks, plants and fish.
 

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The brown algae in my tank is still kicking my butt. It grows back about as fast as I can suck it out. Everything seems to be doing fine and the algae comes off easily it just looks soooo bad. I added som more dwarf hair grass in the front. Hopefully it will go away.... Keep us updated. The only thing that worked so far was lowering the lights. But it still grows just not quite as fast... Blackout killed it all and then it started to grow back in tiny patches and I guess I missed a few.... grrr...
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
It's coming back with a vengence in my tank too. Current plan - keep upping CO2 every other day or so with the pH controller. I'm using Floruish Excel now too - 80ml two days ago, another 60ml today. I'm also transitioning to 1/2 RO 1/2 tap water to lower KH (any maybe silicates).

All in all, I'm about tired of it. I know I'll eventually win, but for now it still looks like garbage, a very expensive pile of garbage. It's makes quite a statement, front and center in my living room.

Maybe the plants are looking better. Maybe it's not as bad as before. Maybe this is just wishful thinking. Anyone have any better ideas? About another month of this and it will be a complete overhaul & substrate changeout. Patience only gets you so far.
 

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I have just redone everything for 2 of my 4 feet tanks. I have new tank syndrome with diatoms on leaves, sand and tank wall. So I decided to:

1. Put a small bag Phos-zorb (AP) which arbsorpe both Phosphate and Silicate.
2. Dose Stress-Zyme to mature the aquarium once a week.
3. Water is changed 80% once a week.

After 2 weeks diatoms start to disappear. Phos-zorb only stayed in canister filter until most diatoms clear up and plants start to show deficiency, they turns pale green/yellow.
 

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This is what I have learned so far (amongst many other things).

High Tech = :frusty:

All in all, I'm about tired of it. I know I'll eventually win, but for now it still looks like garbage, a very expensive pile of garbage.
Patience only gets you so far.
Guaiac_boy, I wish the best for you and your tank.

It seems you have tried almost every High Tech method there may be.

Have you tried any Low Tech methods yet?

What could it hurt? (There may be something to Low Tech methods.) I just hope it (or something) works for you and your aquarium.
 

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Overdriven tanks present similar problems (dust algae, Bga and such).
What I suggest is this:
Lower light period if 4 w/gal to 6 hours a day
Less WC 30% a week in small amounts maybe divided in 3 days of the week, this way the biological circle of the tank can stabilise and not interfered with (care should be given that no Chlorine is introduced in the tank with WC, meaning remove Cl before water comes in the tank, activated carbon can do this), bacterial population in the tank (substrate and all) is of the outmost importance.
No more than 2 ppm daily addition of NO3, 2 ppm PO4 weekly, never all 14 ppm NO3 at once same applies for PO4), (dosing pumps help a lot to do this worry free, stability is the trick here).
Additions of Iron, TE every other day (observe leaves and add until no yellowing is observed anymore then you can stop for 2-4 days and start again or when yellowing is observed again). If dry Fe TE is added do not dilute in water but add in dry form.
Mg, a bit just to get it in if it is missing but not much.
Snails and algae eaters can help so why not add them.
CO2, around .6 less than the value of the overnight degaussed tank water.
Some fast growers that you can trim or leave in the tank according to overall conditions.
Use small diameter hose guided by hand which you can move like a fin at the same time to help dislodge and suck detritus from the surface of substrate in case too much is accumulated to relive tank of excess organic load.
Fluff plants to remove as much of algae, detritus you can (I remove algae from non sensitive plants by raping my thumb with a very fine plastic cloth mess keeping it there with a rubber band and rubbing the leaves perfect for dust algae removal).
Keep water temperature lower than 24 C higher temperatures tend to accelerate decomposition and stress lots of plants.
Instead of blackouts you can simply let the tank with no artificial light for 2 days a week for some time to slow down all including algae.
Slow growing plants are healthy plants, fast growing ones are full of water and brittle.

My 2 cents
Freemann :)
 
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